Friday, August 10, 2012

On Trader Joe's Menu . . .

A couple nights ago, I stopped by Trader Joe's to pick up a couple things. One of the fun things about Trader Joe's is that most of the time, they come up with a menu idea using their products and serve samples, and every now and then, it's something really simple and delicious. Sometime last year, I believe, I shared with you one of their soup ideas where they combined a carton of chicken broth with artichoke and spinach dip and pre-cooked chicken breast strips; to that, I added some rice. It was really yummy and we made it several times. If it wasn't over 100 degrees outside these days, I might STILL be making it, but now I'll need to wait until the weather cools down a bit.

Anyway, this time, they had another tasty meal made up of these products: Precooked carnitas, brown rice, and corn salsa.


Besides being a really quick meal, it's all heated up in the microwave, so for these hot days of summer, there's no need to heat the oven or stove--or even the grill for that matter. The carnitas come precooked and shrink wrapped in the refrigerated section of the store with the meat and cheese; the brown rice is in the freezer section (three bags in one box); and the corn salsa is in one of the canned foods aisles, near the salsas and tortilla chips. If you haven't had the corn salsa before, I should tell you that it's not very hot but it does have a little kick. It's also both slightly sweet and vinegary.

Of course, I had to buy all the ingredients, thinking it would be nice to have everything on hand for one of those last minute meals; and the need for one of those last minute meals came along a night or two later when I came home late after a quilt club meeting and found Hubby hadn't had dinner either. All Hubby needed to do was microwave the carnitas for a couple minutes to heat the meat up and then microwave the rice while he shredded the carnitas.

The shredded carnitas are served on top of a bed of rice and the corn salsa is spooned over the top--as much or as little as you like. I think this would also be a good dish to add diced tomatoes to--or serve sliced heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes on the side with a little salt and pepper. I had a bag of raw peas in their shells that I'd bought at the farmer's market, so we ate those. Yum!

I know: some of you don't have a Trader Joe's anywhere nearby and I feel your pain. But maybe you could find similar products in your local store, or make a batch of carnitas ahead of time and store individual packets in the freezer so it's handy when you want it. In any event, I hope this gives you a quick menu idea because we still have another month or two of hot weather to get through!

7 comments:

Donna said...

It sounds pretty good! (Even though I had to do a search on what carnitas were!) I wish we had a better variety of food items/ingredients that we could purchase and try here.

dianne said...

Trader Joe's is opening a store in the Republic of Boulder ... it will be a bit of a drive, but if i plan it right, i can watch the odd goings on at the Pearl Street Mall...

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

me too. Needed to look up cartinas. :) Sounds delicious!

Richelle said...

One of many places that I miss since moving from the west coast! But next month they are opening up about 8 miles from my house! WooHoo!!

Gran - Knot-y Embroidery Lady said...

You always have such great food ideas! Love Yeah!

Miss Jean said...

Happily, we are going to be getting Trader Joe's here in Colorado. Even if I have to drive 2 hours to get there, it will be worth it!

Rabid Quilter from CA said...

Excellent recipe idea! I'm making this this weekend! I'm so glad we now have a Trader Joe's in Davis but I know you can buy the carnitas and brown rice at Costco.

Thanks--keep those easy recipes coming!